Guys, my sense is that we were choosing between Foner and Howe for our next book, but I want to make a motion that we seriously consider Isabel Wilkerson's The Warmth Of Other Suns. Frankly, I've been trying to avoid this book as the last thing I need is bigger pile. But listening to this interview with Wilkerson on Fresh Air, I just got this sense that I need to read this ASAP.
Well, one of the things that they did was that they reenacted many of the codes that had been used to keep slaves from leaving during the time of slavery. So they reenacted some of those laws. They also created new laws to prevent Northerners from coming south and recruiting black labor to go north. And they exacted these exorbitant fines and license fees that would've made it all but impossible for anyone to afford to come in and recruit blacks to move.In one case, Macon, Georgia, for example, created a law in which anyone who wanted to recruit black labor had to pay a $25,000 licensing fee, and this would've been during World War I. It would have been exorbitant now. It would've been astronomical at that time. And for anyone caught breaking that law, they would have to pay an additional fine and face one year's hard labor. So there were many, many ways that they worked really hard to prevent this labor from leaving.Beyond the actual laws that prevented people from recruiting blacks from leaving the South, they also took to reinstating the peonage laws, in which they could essentially arrest anyone if they were caught trying to buy a train ticket, if they were caught waiting on the platform, and they even boarded trains and would arrest people if they were caught trying to leave. Sometimes in some places they would actually stop the train - keep the train from stopping at a particular station because they saw that there were so many black people there waiting to board and so therefore those people wouldn't get to leave.